Antitrust (Over-?)Confidence

Josh Wright —  25 January 2008

Thom was recently invited to draft a critical response to a symposium at the Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies on the future of single firm conduct.  The transcript from the Roundtable Discussion is available on SSRN.  Thom graciously asked me to join him in drafting a short critical piece to the symposium. It is difficult to respond to an entire symposium in under 20 pages, and we are quite sure we were not able to get to it all of it. We did our best to hit the highlights and central themes of the conversation and contrast the generally pro-interventionist views expressed by the conference panelists with our more skeptical views about the proper scope of the antitrust enterprise in our modern economy. With that said, Antitrust (Over-?)Confidence is now available on SSRN. It will be published in the Loyola Consumer Law Review. Here is the abstract:

On October 5, 2007, a group of antitrust scholars convened on Chicago’s Near North Side to discuss monopolization law. In the course of their freewheeling but fascinating conversation, a number of broad themes emerged. Those themes can best be understood in contrast to a body of antitrust scholarship that was born six miles to the south, at the University of Chicago. Most notably, the North Side discussants demonstrate a hearty confidence in the antitrust enterprise-a confidence that is not shared by Chicago School scholars, who generally advocate a more modest antitrust. As scholars who are more sympathetic to Chicago School views, we are somewhat skeptical. While we applaud many the of the insights and inquiries raised during the conversation, and certainly this sort of discussion in general, our task in this article is to draft a critical analysis of the October 5 conversation. In particular, we critique the North Side discussants’ vision of a big antitrust that would place equal emphasis on Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act and would expand private enforcement of Section 2.

Download it.